Rosa Grayden, administrative manager in the College of Business and Behavioral Science’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, received the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Employee Award for Excellence in Service during Clemson’s MLK Commemorative March and Service on Tuesday, January 20.

2015_MLK_Roas_Grayden-2The award recognizes a student, an employee and a community member who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to community service and advocacy for social or environmental justice.

As a member of the President’s Commission for Black Faculty and Staff and as sub-committee chair for staff, Rosa worked with others on the commission to advocate for a literacy program that would allow employees to develop reading, math and computer skills. She spent significant personal time encouraging eligible members of staff to enroll in the program. In some cases, Rosa personally tutored participants. In the first year, 20 employees completed the program.

“I have personally brought people into my office and taught them computer skills after hours, mentored them and encouraged them to move forward because I believe in not letting your past or present define you — your destiny is in front of you,” says Rosa.

Rosa also acts as an advisor to the campus NAACP chapter, supporting the group’s efforts to get out the vote in the Clemson community. During her personal time, she acts as a liaison between the campus and Pickens County NAACP chapters. She often works with the county branch to seek out additional training and leadership opportunities at the state-level for student members.

“Rosa is always present, always an advocate for the most vulnerable members of the Clemson family,” says Ellen Granberg, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “In this way, she is a shining example of the award criteria: she gives service to Clemson University, she is an advocate for social justice, and she gives extensively of her personal time to further the realization of the beloved community.”